The Daily Caller and Politico: War…and Peace

On Monday The Daily Caller loaded up the cannon and blasted Politico for it’s cozy ties to MSNBC. The charge: liberal bias. Politico reacted to the ugliness by going into a self-induced coma, staying mute on all of it. Even Fake Jim VandeHei responded on Twitter by asking, “What’s The Daily Caller?”

But by late Monday the rumor mill was whirling: Politico was coming after the publication with what was expected to be a hit piece on Executive Editor David Martosko, who came to the publication in July with no journalism experience and a long rap sheet.

Anticipation heightened. On Tuesday the piece by Politico‘s Keach Hagey emerged and it was…nice. It questioned Martosko’s truthiness in an overall condescending tone one might expect from a Goliath publication analyzing a smaller one “with growing pains,” but it also praised the two-year-old outlet — repeatedly and even allowed Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson to take a jab at Politico. She wrote, “To this day, Carlson won’t call the site conservative, only quipping, ‘I would say we are probably more conservative than POLITICO.'” The story concluded on a lighthearted note from a former Daily Caller reporter that seemed to save Martosko, a recovering alcoholic, if, in fact, he needs saving. Jeff Winkler, who left in August, told Hagey, “The only complaint I have against Martosko was his sunny disposition. His friendliness drove me to the bottle.”

To be sure, there was heavy chatter about the story at Carlson’s book party for Jack Abramoff last night. Just one Politico reporter, Patrick Gavin, attended.  Reaction was largely surprise that the story wasn’t scathing and disappointment that Politico didn’t have any real juice on them. “Weak” was among the words used. They wanted a worthy battle and instead got hit with Nerf balls. At least one party guest believes this is tactic — that Politico will eventually return fire with fire. It could come sooner than anyone thinks. Daily Caller Publisher Neil Patel went on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss what he believes are Politico‘s liberal leanings with host Steve Doocy, whom MSNBC’s Ed Schultz refers to as “Douchey.”

Back at the Abramoff party, there was heated discussion on which reporters cracked under Hagey and helped with her story. Many guesses. But no one would fess up, not even Roll Call‘s Jonathan Strong, who declined to comment for Hagey’s story and insisted in Carlson’s living room that he was not among the moles.

Read the full piece here.